Acting role is a dream for South Yorkshire woman who was bullied because of her weight

Rotherham-based Steps Productions is promising its biggest and best show yet when Hairspray hits the stage in June.

Wednesday, 17th May 2017, 10:36 am
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:03 pm

Bethan Griffiths, aged 23, is sharing the lead role of Tracy, with 16-year-old Hannah Clapham, in a production of the hit show Hairspray next month.

Rotherham-based Steps Productions is promising its biggest and best show yet when it hits the stage in June. Sadly though, it will be the company’s final production after eight years of high quality amateur shows.

Hairspray is a high energy musical based in the 1960s and tracks include ‘Good morning Baltimore’, ‘Welcome to the 60s’ and ‘You Can’t Stop The Beat’.

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The lead character, Tracy Turnblad is a pleasant, plump teenager from Baltimore with a massive heart. Tracy’s TV dancing audition makes her a local star and soon she is using her new-found fame to fight for equality, bagging local heartthrob Link Larkin along the way.

For Bethan, taking to the stage in the lead role is a particularly high achievement as she was the victim of bullying as a teenager which rocked her confidence. She was constantly picked on because of her weight.

“It made me feel absolutely awful. Completely worthless, which surprises a lot of people because of how bubbly I am nowadays. I’ve never known anything as horrendous as hating yourself because other people hate you.”

Playing a character like Tracy is an absolute dream come true for Bethan.

“She is everything I longed to be when it comes to confidence. She doesn’t let anybody bring her down because of how she looks. Somehow, she focuses on the bigger things in life and treats everyone with compassion.”

Bethan and Hannah will perform three shows each as Tracy. “Sharing the role is a joy because Hannah reminds me of myself at her age but she has the confidence to be herself that I never did so she offers different interpretations to the same role.”

The budget set for the Hairspray is £40,000, and much of this has to come from fundraising from the cast and their families.

The show will be performed at Rotherham Civic Theatre from June 6-10 June. To buy tickets visit or telephone 01709 823621.

Following on from Steps Productions, Director Danyl J Turvey will be launching a new company Yorkshire Performance Preparation Academy which will aim for artistic excellence whilst nurturing the talents of performers in Yorkshire.